As the winter rears its cold head, it brings along a host of nasal problems. Sinuses flare up, noses start running and heads pound. So how do you keep the common cold at bay?
Try doing the Neti
What is Neti
Neti is an ancient yoga practice that keeps the nasal passage clear at all times. It thus prevents the build up of mucus, which is the main causes of cold. Neti is one of the six classical Kriyas (cleansing practices) mentioned in the Hatha Yoga and can be done in two ways.
This is a fairly simple technique. You will need a neti pot, good quality sea salt and lukewarm water. The neti pot is a small instrument with a spout at one end, which fits into your nostril. This is a gentle technique, and it cleanses your nasal passage well. It is also known to induce some degree of clairvoyance and it is believed to remove diseases above the shoulders. The neti pot is available in specialised stores, so don't expect to find it at your neighbourhood Farm Fair. The best person to guide you as to where you can find a jal neti pot in your neighbourhood would be a yoga master.
How To Do It
- Fill the pot with lukewarm water and add a quarter teaspoon of salt. (You could also reduce the amount of salt if you feel uncomfortable, but a general measure would be one teaspoon of salt for one mug of water.)
- Insert the spout into one nostril and slowly tilt your head sideways. Do not inhale as you are pouring the water through the nose. The water will flow around the septum and out through the other nostril.
- Your nasal passage is getting cleansed. Pour half the water through one nostril, blow your nose vigorously and clear your throat.
- Now insert the spout in the other nostril and repeat, with the remaining half of the water.
- Though the water will mostly come out from your nostrils, some of the water may flow through your mouth as well. So make sure your mouth is wide open.
This has the same benefits as jal neti, and is slightly uncomfortable so try this once you've mastered the art of jal neti - or if you have a strong constitution.
How To Do It
- Take a cotton thread or a rubber wire and insert it up one nostril.
- Keep inserting it till the other end comes out from the other nostril.
- Then hold both ends of the wire and gently move them up and down the nostrils.
- After this, pull the wire out and insert it again in your nostril so the other end comes out from your mouth. This will cause you to retch, especially initially, so make sure you do this on an empty stomach.
- Gently pull the wire up and down from both ends, so the nasal passage is well cleared.
Of the two, jal neti is an easier method of nasal passage cleansing, and it is not as uncomfortable as it seems. You just need a little control to be able to pour the water down your nostrils without splashing it all over! The benefits of jal neti are enormous, and if you are prone to developing a cold, it's definitely worth including in your daily routine.